Street name honour for SAS man Sonny
A soldier, who was fatally injured while on active duty in Oman, is to have a street named after him.
Sergeant Sonny Gallagher, a member of the SAS, was helping to train the Sultan of Oman’s army when he became involved in fighting between local militia groups and was killed on November 6, 1975.
Now a street in the Nelson Village affordable housing development in Cramlington, just a short distance from where he grew up, is to be named Sonny Gallagher Way in his honour.
The development is being built by Esh Property Services, on behalf of Arch Homes.
Several members of the family attended the street naming ceremony, travelling from as far away as Inverness.
Sonny’s sister Margaret Bright said: “Sonny would have been over the moon to have a street named after him. We are delighted to have been asked here today to remember the contribution he made, both as a soldier representing Britain’s armed forces abroad, as well as the happy times we shared as a family, living just a field’s length away from where we are now standing.”
Arch chairman, Coun Richard Wearmouth, added: “It is fitting that we should honour the memory of Sergeant Sonny Gallagher in this way, when he grew up so close to this site and died so unfortunately while on active service.
“Arch Homes continues to make significant investment in its affordable housing stock and the Nelson Village affordable housing scheme offers a wide range of housing types, reflecting the diverse needs of tenants across the county. There has been a lot of interest shown in the scheme from the outset.”
Cramlington West councillor Barry Flux said: “When I was approached by the relatives of Sonny Gallagher I was delighted to make representations that a street should be named in his honour. Nelson Village is a community with a proud heritage. I am delighted that a permanent reminder to a brave hero from Nelson Village can be displayed in such a way for future generations to remember.”
One of nine children (seven brothers and two sisters), Sonny left behind a wife Margaret and a daughter Fay. Margaret was also expecting a child at the time of his death, a son, Richard, who was born the following July. His widow was later presented with the Elizabeth Cross.
A second military man is also to be honoured in the Nelson Village development, at Abercromby Way.
Captain RO Abercromby commanded the first Royal Flying Corps station to be opened in the North East at Cramlington Airfield.
The airfield played a key role in the defence of the North East coastline during the First World War, eventually expanding to cover 155 acres and later becoming home to the Newcastle Aero Club.